After a car crash, are you still suffering from back pain that is not getting better? You’ve received medical attention and do not have any fractures, but the doctor did say you might have a herniated disc. Further testing was recommended to determine the cause of your pain.
All types of back and neck injuries are common after motor vehicle collisions. While an injury might appear to be minor at first, as the hurt grows and other symptoms set in, you realize you need help to stop the numbness, the muscle weakness, and, of course, the pain.
A study done by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine indicates that, after a car crash, more than 70 percent of those who sought emergency treatment were still suffering from pain. Not all of the pain reported was from a back injury, but a review of the hospital records for 948 patients determined that, six weeks following a motor vehicle accident, the most common injury for those admitted to the hospital was neck and back pain.
What is a Herniated Disc?
The sudden, strong forces exerted on your spine during a crash can injure the cushions between the bony vertebrae; these cushions are known as discs. Discs are sponge-like and exist to absorb impacts, thus protecting spinal bones. When a disc is pulled out of place (a bulging disc) or when its outer layer is torn and it is leaking fluid (a herniated disc), pressure is exerted on spinal nerves. This pressure can cause muscle weakness, numbness, and pain that may radiate down one or both legs.
Disc injuries can be serious and can even interfere with normal movement in addition to the unrelenting pain. Some of the symptoms of a herniated disc in various locations on your back are:
- Cervical spine. A herniated disc in your neck often causes pain in the immediate area, but often radiates pain into your shoulder blade, arm, and even your fingers. You may suffer from muscle spasms.
- Thoracic spine. A midback herniated disc can mean, in addition to pain and muscle spasms, muscle weakness and numbness or tingling. You might also experience changes to your bladder and bowel routine or even paralysis from the waist down.
- Lumbar spine. A lower-back herniated disc can produce pain that shoots down your legs and into your feet, muscle spasms and weakness, numbness or tingling, and the loss of the reflexes in your legs.
How Herniated Discs are Diagnosed
Usually, certain tests will be ordered by your doctor after an examination that will likely include many questions. Diagnostic tests consist of:
- An X-ray, to rule out bone fractures
- An MRI, which is often the best test for revealing a herniated disc
- A CT scan, frequently in tandem with a myelogram, where dye is injected to help pinpoint the injured area.
Testing can be expensive and strain your financial resources, depending on your medical insurance.
Treating a Herniated Disc
Treatments are generally conservative, employing over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories, as well as rest and physical therapy. However, in some cases, surgery may be indicated.
It’s important not to pursue spinal surgery without first exploring all the ramifications. Spinal surgical error is not rare; in 2008, half of spinal surgeons confessed that they had operated on the wrong vertebra or disc. It also usually means a lengthy recovery where you will not be able to work and may need home care. Complications can include infections and nerve damage. You can also be left in more pain than you were before the operation.
Motor Vehicle Accident Cases and Herniated Discs
If you decide to bring a case, certain factors are more likely to produce a successful outcome:
- Seeking medical treatment promptly
- Strong personal testimony
- Strong testimony from your doctor
- Medical tests that confirm the doctor’s diagnosis
- Medical history that does not include a history of back problems
- The severity of the collision.
If you or a family member has suffered after a car crash due to the other person’s negligence, you do not have to go it alone. You deserve compensation, and we can assist you.
Experiencing Pain after your Motor Vehicle Crash? Let Us Help You.
At the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, we understand the enormous financial and emotional ramifications of back injuries after a Maryland motor vehicle collision. We believe that justice should be pursued when a negligent or reckless party causes you and your loved ones physical and financial distress. After we meet with you and consult medical experts, we work hard to obtain full and fair compensation from the responsible parties, whether that takes a jury trial or can be best accomplished through settlement negotiations.
Maryland attorney Steve Heisler will provide you with experienced, compassionate, and thorough legal representation. Initial consultations are always free, so call Steve today, or use our confidential online contact form.